The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Tonga Campus received a visit from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Resident Representative Mr Hiroaki Takashima and his delegation.
The visit comes as the JICA Tonga Office hopes to understand the present situation and operation of the USP Tonga campus and plan out future development activities in the Education sector in Tonga.
Mr Takashima was greeted by USP Tonga Campus Director, Dr Robin Havea and the staff before he was given a tour of the Campus to also give the Resident Representative and his team a better understanding of the current operations of the campus, the Student Academic Services (SAS) officer presented on SAS related matters, enrollment, and the number of students and programme of studies offered at USP Tonga Campus.
The IT staff presented on IT facilities on campus including the satellite disc donated by JICA to ‘ATele Campus, Vava’u and Ha’apai centre while the Student Learning Services (SLS) presented mainly on student support services available on campus for students to use, to help them succeed in their studies.
Campus Director, Dr Robin Havea said it was a great opportunity for the USP team in Tonga to finally meet the Resident Representative and his team.
“We managed to take them around the Campus showcasing what we have that was donated through JICA and was of special interest to them. A significant proportion of our IT infrastructure was donated by the Government of Japan through JICA, and the team was pleased to see and learn that we have been exploiting and putting to good use what they had given to us in the past years,” he added.
Dr Havea also said, “Our satellite system was initially given to us through JICA; Ha’apai and Vava’u Centres operate through JICA-donated satellite equipment. We were able to discuss how we coped and continued to deliver during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
JICA Resident Representative Hiroaki Takashima said, “JICA has a long history of cooperation with USP and such cooperation is not only in Fiji but also other USP Campus including Tonga. That is the reason why we’d like to visit and hear about the present situation and your activities here at the USP-Tonga Campus.”
“As we have a long history of cooperation, I believe there are possibilities for further cooperation in the future. One possibility is a “JICA Chair” in USP. JICA Chair (JICA Programme for Japanese studies) is the initiative of JICA for expanding the opportunities of Japanese studies in partner countries,” Mr Takashima added.
JICA Chair’s activities include short intensive lectures conducted by lecturers, dispatched from Japan, on Japan’s development experiences, in the fields of politics, economics, public administration, law and others. JICA will also provide reference materials for Japanese studies and research and education opportunities to faculty members of universities who wish to establish or strengthen courses or programs in Japanese studies.
Mr Takashima also acknowledged the warm hospitality accorded to him and his team adding that the visit was also a great opportunity for them, and they were impressed with the great management of the USP-Tonga Campus facilities and its operations.